Archive for the ‘children’ Category

Stereotyping

Let’s play a word association game, okay? I’ll say a word, you notice what descriptors come to mind immediately. No looking them up…just knee jerk reaction to each word. No cheating.

Muslim

Hindu

Buddhist

Atheist

Wiccan

Shaman

Christian

Got your descriptors for each figured out?  Are you sure? Don’t go on until you have acknowledged what you believe about each of these.

Folks, that is what we call a stereotype.  We all have them. Whatever stereotype you assigned to each of the categories listed above is a direct result of your life experiences and the influences of the people around you. Many of those stereotypes are inaccurate and unfair to the majority of people who claim those descriptors.

Lately I’ve shared several things on Facebook that are quite harsh towards people who categorize themselves as Christians. Many of my Christian friends have a difficult time accepting the criticism  because they don’t see themselves as fitting the stereotypical descriptions attached to a word. Just as many Muslims recoil at the idea of being compared to Bin Laden’s followers, many Christians recoil at the idea of being lumped together with the legalistic extremists that dominate the news.

So why do we do this?

It’s programming. Conditioning. Experiences, both good and bad. They shape us and they shape our view of everything outside of us. Many of us have had experiences that have left quite a bitter taste in our mouths regarding the absolute rightness of Christianity.

So what’s a person to do when the descriptive word that has long been their identity, their get out of jail free card, has acquired such a negative connotation? Do we bow up and the people who lump us all together and whine that we aren’t all like that?

Well, that just added pouty whiner to the stereotype, so it probably isn’t the best solution. I said pouty not poultry.

Do we wear our identity plastered all over our shirts and our cars and set out to prove we are better than the fundamentalist lowlife assholes by serving and sacrificing until it kills us and destroys our family?

Not likely to change many attitudes and opinions.

So what’s a “nice Christian” to do? How can the bad wrap/reputation be shed?

My personal game plan is to ditch the Christian identity as my meal ticket and secret hand shake.

I plan to do my best to love every person who crosses my path. Hint: you will be much easier to love if you just love me back and don’t try to save me and my children from hell.

I am going to lay my hands on whomever needs and wants my touch, and wherever healing is within my power, I will give them all I have to give.

I plan to donate what I feel I can to organizations whose reach and ability to make a difference for hungry people exceeds mine and who keep the proseletyzing to a minimum.

I will do my best to connect with people who feel Christianity isn’t for them by caring for them and accepting them as Jesus might have.

I will teach and model for my children as best I can that “do unto others” means showing love to them even when they are not showing love to us.

I will help my children to see a bigger picture and learn to be wary of anyone pedaling “absolutes”.

And finally, I will work to move past and release the resentment I apparently harbor toward my stereotype image of Christian. Note: It will be a much easier task if they will kindly remove their claws from our political and legal system and start caring a bit more about the “creation” they claim came from the God they hold in such high esteem.

Okay, so I still have a long ways to go.

What are your thoughts? How do the “nice Christians” shake the negativity that many have attached to the word “Christian”? Is it even possible, or is it time to find a new identity?

What Would Jesus Say?

Yesterday I posted the following video on my Facebook page:

My comment that accompanied this video said simply, “Good message. Worth the watch, even if your stance is “worth the wait”.” Worth the Wait is a curriculum us Bible Belters use to terrorize our children into keeping their venereal diseases and their penises to themselves until they are married. It does have some merit. Probably not a bad program all in all, once you get past the fear tactics. It really does present some good information.

One of my high school classmates, who has recently discovered religion, proceeded to start preaching about the video I posted. His comments were, “Nothing good about this video… it facilitates the idea that living outside of the will of God is appropriate and acceptable, for Him it is neither. Mark 9:42. If you really wanted to save planned parenthood…get a husband and wife back to church and into the will of God. Teach your children. Quit allowing the school systems, television, and radio…videos and others to mandate the upbringing they should be receiving at home. “Good Message” = God Message.”

Personally, I love how the religious zealots can make my points about religion without me saying a word. They tend to make themselves (and thus religion) look ridiculous with very little effort on my part.

However, my blog gives me opportunity to pick his preaching apart one little piece at a time.

First, I must confess. As a teen I would have been holding one of those signs. Now before you jump to the conclusion that I had loose morals, let me clarify. I would have been the one holding the sign that says, “My friends have sex.”

Because they did. Some of them, anyway.

And as for the argument that getting husband and wife back to church and into the will of God…teach your children…etc., let me say that my parents rocked on this one. We were there every Sunday twice a day, and every Wednesday. I was at every youth group activity. I went to at least one church camp every summer. I even chose a Christian college and sent in my application as soon as they would take it. I was pretty much convinced that sex outside of marriage (along with drinking, smoking, etc.) was a one-way ticket to hell. Plus I was scared to death of getting pregnant.

And then I met him.

He was so handsome. His kiss was intoxicating. He made my heart race when I was in his presence. He pushed my boundaries to the edge. I was captivated. I was a tease. I wanted him and I wanted him to want me.

And then I turned 18.

And having educated myself on a variety of “things” related to the female reproductive system, I made a decision that I wanted him worse than I wanted to please God or my parents. I wanted him worse than I feared the fires of hell.

I got lucky. Because we were both “informed” about the facts, I made it all the way to my college graduation without getting pregnant. My post graduation (from that Christian college) Christmas present was an engagement ring, and my New Year’s present was a pink stick. Our April wedding was moved to January 14th, and the following September, my beautiful baby girl arrived on this planet into the loving arms of her new parents.

Four beautiful princesses later, there is NOTHING I would change. I am still intoxicated by his kiss, and he is still gives me butterflies. He still pushes my boundaries, and I am still a tease.

So, Preacher Boy, your argument fails. My parents did everything right. For that matter, I think his parents probably did a pretty good job, too, yet I’m pretty sure there is at least one of the signs in the video he could have held as a young adult.

Flinging God and Bible verses around as justification to ignore the facts of life is nothing more than shoving your head up your arse and ignoring reality.

Religion aside, the point of the message is Planned Parenthood takes a very small amount of the overall federal budget as compared to the bucketloads of cash thrown at corporations in the form of corporate welfare. If the so-called leaders of our country want to make effective reforms, there’s a good place to start.

With that said, I personally think many government services should be relegated to the private sector for financial support. Those who believe in the importance of planned parenthood should signify so by hitting the Donate Now button on their website. My neighbor who thinks PP has ruined America shouldn’t be required to support it. Same thing with NPR, and to some extent poverty welfare.

…Which brings me around to the early morning shower thought that triggered my need to respond publicly to the mini sermon I received over the posting of this video.

What would Jesus’ response be to this video message?

I mean, after all, we are supposedly Christians around here, so it would seem appropriate that we turn to none other than Jesus himself for guidance on this thing.

Would Jesus pick up the nearest scroll and begin pounding it on the lecturn as he proclaimed the evils of modern day school systems, television, radio, and the internet?

Would he point a finger at the teens holding those signs and say, “You kids need to stop having sex and get right with God!”

Would he turn to their parents and say, “This is all your fault! If you would raise your kids with an appropriate amount of God in their lives, they wouldn’t be having sex.”

Or would Jesus turn to the teens in this video and say, “It’s pretty tough being a teen, isn’t it? There’s a lot of pressure and a lot of mixed messages out there. It’s never as simple as just following a rule, is it? Oh, you over there, the blonde. Your name is Samantha, right? You are 18 and already have two kids by two different men. I bet that’s been tough trying to raise them and finish raising yourself. You keep looking for someone to love you for who you are, but you haven’t found him. Maybe I can help make your life a little easier by showing you how things work so you can make better choices. Maybe I can show you a different kind of love. ”

The woman caught in adultery and the woman at the well are the Bible stories that haunt me today.

How often do we pick up “stones”  in the name of religion rather than loving and teaching a better way?

What is that better way?

The bottom line is that for teens, relationships (and in many cases sex) are more appealing than religion. Fear works for some, but not forever. Middle aged adults can shove their heads up their arses and keep them there while they spew their religious crap about getting right with God and pleasing God, but it won’t push religion any higher up the priority pole for teens. In most cases, the desire to feel perceived physical love trumps the desire to obey  an unseen, unheard, unfelt imaginary entity.

And so we educate them. We protect them as best we can. We teach them that sex is a beautiful and incredible thing when with the right partner. We give them information that allows them to make educated choices based not on fear, but on what’s best for them and their future. If  something goes “wrong”, we love them and help them through it, and get them pointed back down the road to success as best we can.

Religion fears education in all forms. Once educated, people can make intelligent decisions and often times that leads them to the realization that religion isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. They take their checkbooks and their beliefs and walk away.

Hence, the religious right hates programs like Planned Parenthood.

I personally think Jesus would have been standing at the door of PP welcoming people in.

 

Hormones, Drama, Raw Edges, & Rambling

I’m really curious as to whether hormone fluctuations attract emotional drama or just magnify what’s been there all along so that it becomes glaringly, blatantly, unignorable.

Really.

I don’t need this.

I need my brain chatter to shut up so my body can sleep at night.

I need the sun to shine today and the temps to warm up. So far today that hasn’t happened.

I need my thoughts to shift from what I perceive to be the current state of affairs to something more along the lines of beautiful non-radioactive oceans and crisp clear mountain air… Some place where my girls and I are goddesses surrounded by people with common sense and emotional stability oozing out of their pores.

I need people in my world to stop fighting and start loving like the Christians they claim to be, because right now, I don’t want whatever it is they have.

I need to understand why I feel responsible and powerless at the same time.

Or maybe I don’t, because then I have to “feel”.

I don’t really want to feel right now. I don’t want to feel responsible. I don’t want to feel powerless. I don’t want to cry.

I don’t want to be silent. I’ve been silent. Yet if I speak, I will hurt feelings and further damage relationships. I don’t want to hurt people.

So I remain silent.

I want this almighty powerful God that everyone says is in control of all things to fix it. I want the people who say God never gives/allows us more than we can handle to be smacked upside the head. There are plenty of good people who get more than their sanity can handle. No amount of prayer or giving it to God can change that.

Crap happens (not my preferred word, but my mom reads this stuff). Good people get hurt. It’s called life. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it sucks. People take on tasks for which they aren’t prepared. Parents get a bad wrap for wanting and expecting (even demanding) the best for their kids. Kids get caught in the middle and labeled spoiled brats by people who don’t know what the hell they are talking about. (Sorry, Mom. I blame the hormones.)

And sadly, in the big game of life, none of it really matters. Not. one. bit.

This is small potatoes.

Yet before you know it, the world of a teenager becomes a huge heavy burden. People she respected and admired six months ago are now bullies to be avoided in her mind. Adults who should know better act like self-centered three year olds mid-tantrum. Instead of asking where it all went wrong and how can we make it right, revenge becomes the reaction of choice.

And another of my goddesses learns that silence is far less painful than finding your voice. And she begins to think, “If only I can make it one more year, I’m outta here.”

Pain and stress change people for the worse.

I don’t like stress. Everyday I see how it ravages our bodies, especially negative stress. It ravages our minds, too. Rational thought flies out the window and our heads crawl painfully far up our arses when stress takes over.

Right now, my body is feeling it. I want to release it, but my hormones are holding on to it like it’s the last piece of chocolate on earth.

I can’t fix this. Speaking up puts me on a “side”. I don’t want to be on a side. I just want it to go away and for everything to be right again. I don’t want to see anyone else get hurt.

I want my kid to be happy, relaxed, and joyful. I want her to get to be a kid.

I want her world to rock again. All of it.

 

The Connectors

Prejudice. Bigotry. Racism.

These are very ugly words. So ugly, in fact, that when my first child was born over 20 years ago, a made myself a promise. As she and her sisters grew, I refused to use race as a descriptor in identifying their friends.

I did not want my children to grow up seeing race as something that separates people. I did not want them to struggle with the same stereotyping ignorance that I have struggled with all my life.

I love watching how this effort has evolved. I also love seeing how my own beliefs and ideals are being pushed and tested in a way that makes me question whether I truly feel the way I say I feel.

It’s a “put your money where your mouth is” sort of push.

It feels as though I am part of a bridge between what once was and what is to become.

My parents witnessed and experienced public school segregation and subsequent integration. They remember a time when skin color and even religion determined the level of opportunity afforded a person. I am proud of the fact that my dad had a good friend from the “wrong side of the tracks” even when that was a bit unusual. He has had many such good friends throughout his life.

My children only know about it through history books.

Unfortunately, my children have witnessed the self-destructive poverty mentality that tends to attach itself to certain ethnic groups in our part of the country. I have seen it as well. In spite of my best efforts to protect my children from connecting behavior to race, to some extent, it has happened anyway.

Therein lies some prejudice that I never intended my children to acquire. In many ways, they have chosen to separate themselves from the behaviors that they find unacceptable. In doing so, their opportunities to experience a variety of cultures has been somewhat limited.

My oldest child has stepped away from this place and out into the world. She is a connector, seeing people for who they are, not who they appear to be. She challenges me and my stated beliefs on a regular basis. She has landed in a place where diversity does not necessarily equal poverty mentality and self-destructive behaviors. It exists as an equal opportunity as does goal-oriented focus and success.

Her new friends have many roots, yet they are all connected. She connects and she helps them to connect with others from all over the world. It is a true melting pot of interdependence and compassion.

This generation, both here in the U.S. and in countries like Egypt, want so much more from their world. They desire peace and cooperation, and many of them know exactly how to make it happen. They have been nurtured to recognize that God is not a divider separating people into categories of worthiness. They do not see skin color, religious beliefs, or sexual preference as qualifiers. They understand that God is within them and will be experienced by others through their compassion, their vision, their passion, and their love for one another.

In a sense, they are collectively…..God. Aya. One.

They are the indigos, the crystals, and the rainbows.

They may very well be the catalysts who usher in an age of true interdependence.

They are The Connectors.

I am glad to be a part of the connection.

Observations on Love and Romance

The past few weeks have given me ample opportunity to observe the world around me.  It’s provided quite an education, or in some cases a bit of re-education.

It’s been fun to watch my kids, Christmas shoppers, extended family, my sweet man, good friends, movies, and more. However, I think the most intriguing observations have come from watching the many forms of love being played out in different settings.

It’s touching.

It’s frustrating.

It’s heartbreaking.

It’s beautiful.

There are a few things I have noticed that I think are important to mention.

Love is a choice. An everyday, wake-up-in-the-morning, get-through-the-day, because-I-want-to-love-you choice. It’s not a feeling that comes and goes. It exists through migraines, black eyes, busted lips, cash-flow-shortfalls, home renovation projects, crappy jobs, and more because we choose each and every moment to love another human being.

There is very little that is more difficult and heartbreaking than watching someone you love more than life itself suffering in pain. It’s true even when the injuries are relatively minor and heal quickly. Watching a child, a parent, or a lover hurt creates an overwhelming urge to throw up. Where’s a magic wand when you need one?

It is entirely possible to be madly, passionately, uncontrollably in love with someone and still want to smack ’em upside the head occasionally. Doesn’t matter if you are 20, 45,  or 70. I’m not advocating the smacking, just acknowledging that the urge occasionally surfaces.

The urge to smack a lover upside the head is usually followed shortly thereafter by an equally overwhelming urge to disappear behind closed doors and “…have a little fun when we turn out the lights…” (my regards to the musical group Alabama).

First romance is adorable. Freakin’ crazy precious adorable….when done right.

Being overly rational where love is concerned can lead to missed opportunity.

Sometimes the first time people meet and fall in love, it’s just too early. Life has a way of bringing things back around full circle. The trick is to trust the process, without waiting on the process. Roll with life. Don’t burn the bridge that will carry you over the canyon.

When the standard of perfection has been set, it’s really a waste of time and emotion to toy with those who don’t meet the standard. Just keep your eyes on the standard and know that when the time is right, it will appear beautifully, romantically, and perfectly. It is, however, perfectly acceptable to sample the menu in small doses to establish a basis for comparison.

It’s important to know the difference between having a standard created by logic and having a standard created by your heart. The heart is way smarter than the brain. The brain tends to mess things up by over thinking. I am grateful to know this lesson first hand and to be the one who listened to my heart when my brain was telling me how stupid I was.

It’s paid off beautifully.

The stronger the reaction (even negative), the more likely it is that there is unfinished business. Recognize it for what it is, and shower it with gratitude rather than attempt to drowned it in an ocean of anger.

There is a window of time in which it is good to be a bit subtle, however, ongoing efforts to be subtle and coy simply mask true feelings. When your heart and soul are already in shreds, the best thing is to be honest. Sometimes that’s all the other person needs is to see you for who you really are. If they run, then so be it.

Never ask a guy what he is thinking. Odds are he’s not. It’s a gift they have.

It’s never a good thing to expect a man to be overly romantic. Often times the ideal image we create is completely incompatible with 24/7 romantic male. Prince Charming arriving to sweep us off our feet is usually in direct opposition to the strong, hard-working, silent type. If he is willing to change a baby diaper, push a vacuum, mow the lawn, fix the toilet, clean the kitchen, cook supper, build a wall,  or feed your animals when it is snowing, that’s the equivalent of being handed a dozen red roses and being swept off your feet. Face it, accept it, be grateful, and recognize the disguise.

And finally, I am so full of gratitude for having survived my journey into love, for having a lover, friend, and companion who is willing to tolerate all my weirdness and quirky behaviors, and for time we have had and the time that remains to spend together. Each moment is priceless. Funny thing…..when I see us in photos, I see how time has changed us. When I look at him face to face, I still see that gorgeously hot 29 year old with the amazing dark brown hair and piercing blue eyes.

As I watch my girls tiptoe into the adventure that is finding love, I am swept back 25 years to that roller coaster that they are now experiencing.

It’s a stomach-turning, hands-in-the-air, scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs thrill ride, but what a rush it is.

What a rush!

Homebound Technology Potential

This past week has been quite a roller coaster of emotion. Daughter #3 (Cowgirl) managed to acquire a broken leg in the first 7th grade basketball game of her season/career last Monday night. Things looked pretty nasty at first, then seemed to be a bit better, then as of Friday when we finally got in to see an orthopedic guy, he decided it wasn’t lined up as well as he likes for a kid.

Instead of being through most of the icky part by the end of the first week, we still have a bone pinning to go this coming Thursday. That has really torqued Mom’s notion that we’d have the worst over and be back in school by today.

Cowgirl has already missed four days of school.

With a bone that isn’t where it needs to be, we have decided she won’t be going back until it is more secure and she has better navigation skills.

Five foot nine-inch toothpicks using toothpicks for stability in hallways full of pre-teens and young teens aren’t  our idea of evolutionary intelligence. Even waiting until after classes have changed, there is the issue of lumps and bumps and currently insurmountable one-inch mountains to navigate.

So now instead of four days of school work to attempt to play catchup, we are looking at 9 days.

As the former technology facilitator for this same school district, (which by the way has some VERY cool technology), I find myself quite frustrated. It would take so little effort (yes, I know, easy for me to say) to broadcast her classes either live via webcam or recorded and uploaded to YouTube. After all, the kid lays here and watches TV all day.

It’s not like anything important is competing for her time.

One of the influencing factors in my departure was a feeling that while having the technology was important, using it and training staff members to use it effectively was a bit lower down the totem pole. And that was what I was being paid to do.

Responsibility – Opportunity = Burnout.

Time was a huge factor. I can’t say I blame the resistance.

These teachers already put in hours beyond what they are paid for, and giving up more unpaid time to learn something that for many is intimidating just isn’t fair.

And so today, here I sit, about to read the novel outloud to my daughter as is happening in her ELA class, attempting to help her with her math, wondering if there’s a stack of science and social studies waiting on me to retrieve (which could be emailed to us as a pdf), while once again she misses the guided instruction and class discussion that really are important for some kids to be successful.

I couldn’t make a difference as an employee. Maybe as a knowledgeable mom with a kid held captive at home unable to access her high tech classroom from her high tech home, I can.

We shall see. I think I need to make an appointment to visit with the new boss.

Cowgirl Rides with the Big Dawgs

Cowgirl is my number three beautiful gorgeous goddess. She is not my only animal lover, but she is the one that is pretty much fearless around animals. People tend to freak her out, yet any animal is an instant connection for her.

Cowgirl is my one and only horse show kid. Every spring, we load up her horse in our tiny trailer and drag it behind our ’94 Chevy Suburban along with saddles, tack, washing gear and more, and head to the shows in nearby communities. She and I play horse beauty shop until her baby looks as near perfect as we can get him, then she leads or rides him into the arena in front of judges and stopwatches.

Cowgirl isn’t much of a fan of being judged. She doesn’t have a whole lotta use for the shows. It sorta stresses her perfectionistic, competitive spirit beyond its elasticity limits.

And darn it, that girl can get cranky when she and her horse don’t do well.

She’d rather be riding with the wind, hair flying out behind her, running free across the pasture. Or maybe circling a few barrels. She’s okay with that, too.

Cowgirl’s uncle is the one I blame for this bleeding hole in my pocket book. He recognized something in this kid when she was younger and pretty much told me she needed to be on a horse. I think he was just jealous that he didn’t have a Cowgirl princess of his own (he’s an all-boy dad) to dress up and parade around the arena, so he just “borrowed” one of mine.

Cowgirl has decided she believes she’d enjoy actually WORKING cattle with her horse. He is, after all, a well-trained roping horse. I put a bug in Uncle Cowboy’s ear and we sat back to wait for opportunity to jump up and bite us.

The call finally came.

Uncle Cowboy called us this week to ask if Cowgirl had plans for this Saturday (today). With nothing major on the agenda (well, there was this Big 5 banquet and swimming to attend, but that got trumped), he invited Cowgirl to help them work a few cattle. Apparently they thought they would be somewhat short-handed, and when desperation kicks in, almost any “body” with a little bit of horse sense is better than no “body”.

Cowgirl washed her mud-dog horse last night so he’d be clean and fresh for the job. This morning she got up early and put on her layers of hoodies and t-shirts to brave the cool morning breeze. We headed to the farm and I watched from the distance as Cowgirl did her thing. She fed, saddled, grabbed the necessary tack, then waited for her ride.


Sounds like it could be a long day. I can hardly wait to hear the tales of her adventures.

Books that Changed My Life — BrainGym and Bal-A-Vis-X

Disclaimer: Clicking some of these links will take you to Amazon. If you buy something through the link, I get a small kickback. However, I’m not exaggerating on the “changed my life” part. Just sayin’…..

My life has most certainly been quite a journey thus far. There haven’t been many exotic places or encounters with famous people, yet every twist and turn in the road has revealed some very cool mojo for me. Along the way, I have turned to books for answers to many of the questions that present themselves in my life at various points.

I’m not much of a fiction reader. I got way more of that than I needed in high school and college.

Over it. Plain and simple.

Instead, I read for information. I read for lots of information. I know things about bodies and minds and spirit matters that the average smart person doesn’t know and doesn’t know they doesn’t know. (Yes, I made up that horrible sentence on purpose. Deal with it.)

Summer of 2003 found me  given an “opportunity” <cough-choke> to teach little bitty bodies physical education. It also gave me the opportunity to learn about a couple of very cool teaching techniques that use movement to activate/focus the brain and calm the physical and mental stress response so learning can occur. The two programs were called BrainGym® and Bal-A-Vis-X.

My crash course introduction pointed me to a few book that literally changed my life. Those who best know me know this is not even the tiniest of exaggerations. The titles are Bal-A-Vis-X : Rhythmic Balance/Auditory/Vision eXercises for Brain and Brain-Body Integration by Bill Hubert, and two others written by Carla Hannaford, PhD entitled Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All in Your Head and The Dominance Factor: How Knowing Your Dominant Eye, Ear, Brain, Hand, & Foot Can Improve Your Learning. I am convinced these books should be required reading before any educator on any level is allowed to set foot in the classroom. I am also of the opinion The Dominance Factor should be required pre-marital and parenting reading.

These books began my quest to learn more about the brain-body connection.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue advanced training in BrainGym® and Bal-A-Vis-X on someone else’s dime. Both programs are specifically geared toward helping ease the learning process for children, in part by integrating the two hemispheres of the brain through movement. People who tend to be very left-brained get stuck in the details and can’t always see much of the big picture. People who tend to be right-brained sometimes get stuck with the big picture and can’t drill down to the important and necessary details.

Our brain was designed to be used as a whole, not a single dominant half. We are much smarter, nicer, more organized, and more creative people when we have access to our entire brain. For me, the experience of taking the workshops and practicing the exercises with my students had a significant brain-integrating effect. I began for the first time in my life to get glimpses of the big picture in several areas of my personal world.

**The new information and experience changed my perspective on teaching and learning.

**It changed my perspective on parenting, probably saving one of my children from my own ignorance and opening valuable doors of opportunity for her.

**It changed my personality from one of judgmental and absolute to one of greater gentleness and possibility.

**It allowed my spiritual perspectives to shift in ways that are still sorting themselves out. Some question whether this is a good thing. I think it has been a wonderful thing.

I owe a debt of gratitude to those who brought the information contained in these books to light, and to those who helped me acquire the information on a personal and professional level. I now teach these concepts and have integrated them with other learning which continues to evolve me personally.

I would love to share with you some of the amazing possibilities that await a person who has full access to all the potential of their brain. Check out these titles. Who knows? Maybe you’ll experience a life-enhancing shift, too.

The Call

No matter how prepared you are, words can’t begin to describe the feeling that accompanies a middle of the night phone call with the news.

It’s like a sucker punch to the gut, delivered with a gentle dose of love and relief.

We’ve been waiting on that phone call for quite awhile. I guess if the truth be known, it’s been about five years we’ve been waiting and wondering when the call would come. However, recent days have heightened the intensity and expectation as decisions were made to stop life extending medical interventions and let nature work her spirit-freeing genius.

The call came at about 1:30 am Friday morning. It was the hospital delivering the news we knew would be coming, and had even predicted the likelihood of it being this night. No surprise at all.

No tears. At least not yet. It’s the circle of life, Cox style.

Just a big dose of raw practical gratitude and relief.

Plus that feeling of being lovingly slugged in the stomach.

And the opportunity to pass on the sucker punch to other somewhat prepared, but not bullet-proofed guts.

The Call is actually a game of tag. We were tagged first this time. We then tagged the others. We became their gut-punch of love, relief, and sadness.

Thirty minutes after our phone first rang, we were back in bed planning on a peaceful night’s rest knowing THAT call would never come again.

WRONG.

There are just some things life skills class doesn’t teach you.

Like the fact that there is never just one phone call after a loved one passes.

And the phone calls will come at intervals designed to make sure you will not get that peaceful night’s rest tonight.

2:30 AM: “Would you like to donate his skin for skin grafts?”

Huh? It’s 87 years old and paper thin. Why would you even want it? Not exactly a decision to be made at 2:30 AM by only one of four brothers. Someone should have asked that about 3 days ago during daytime, wide-awake hours.

Another hour passed, our brains began to settle down just a bit, and the fit-full, mind-racing sleep almost overtook us again.

And the phone rang…..again.

It was Steve, the sweet guy who will graciously prepare our loved one for ceremony and burial asking my husband’s permission to begin his work. It never occurred to me that his night would be interrupted, too. However, I did give his precious wife the heads up Thursday evening that I thought Eric’s dad would pass before morning.

And so we are up. Coffee is made. It’s now 3:40 AM. Sleep will have to wait until later this afternoon when our bodies decide to slam us into the relaxing embrace of an easy chair.

Mama said there’d be days like this, but she forgot to mention there’d be a few nights, too.

Adios, Charlie. Give Alex a hug for us. You boys try to stay out of trouble up there, ya hear? Say hi to my Pappy, if you see him. He’ll be the one out hunting rabbits, dove, and pheasant.

10 Things

1. Coffee without whipped cream out of the spray can just isn’t the same at 5:30 AM on a Saturday.

2. Cats aren’t the only mammals with 9 lives. Apparently some humans have that many, too, and save them for years 80-90.

3. Roller coasters are made of many different substances. In my case the emotional kind seem to be my coaster of choice lately.

4. The unknown really messes with my control freakish planning.

5. It’s fascinating watching practical, laid-back males calmly deal with the circle of life.

6. I now want to bust into songs from The Lion King with a full chorus backing me up.

7. Children were created so that reasonably neat individuals could experience the feeling of being a total complete house-cleaning failure.

8. Maintaining three houses, three kitchens, five bathrooms, and three sets of utility bills isn’t much fun unless at least one of them is either creating significant income or is located somewhere vacation-y. Both would be nice.

9. Vanilla exterior stucco paint needs a trim/accent color other than white. I’m open to suggestions.

10. It’s hard to watch America’s Funniest Videos when I have a kitten/puppy rodeo going on in the living room. I can’t decide which funny show to watch, the videos or the live production.

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